Questioned Document Analysis

by: Claire Coble

What is a Questioned Document?

  • A questioned document is any signature, handwriting, typewriting, or other mark whose source or authenticity is in dispute or doubtful

Techniques Used to Analyze Questioned Documents

  • Comparisons are done with the naked eye or with a hand lens
  • Special lighting is used to reveal small details about how the document was altered or created
  • Backlighting makes areas where an eraser has been used turn lighter and correction fluids dark
  • The Video Spectral Comparator allows an examiner to analyze inks, visualize hidden security features, and reveal alterations on a document using variable light sources and photography and a spectrum analysis tool
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The Principle of Individuality

  • Also known as the principle of uniqueness
  • Forms the basis for handwriting analysis
  • States that no two writers share the same combination of handwriting characteristics given sufficient quantity and quality of writing to compare
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Types of Forgeries, Alterations & Frauds

  • Forgeries: freehand (plain writing) and tracing (tracing over previously written material)
  • Alterations: Obliterations (when someone has erased or otherwise removed or hidden some kind of writing or printing) and erasures (the removal of writing, recorded material, or data)
  • Frauds: Counterfeiting money, documents, or valuable artistic and/or historical written items

Handwriting Example

  • Print with cursive hints
  • Looped "d"'s and "l"'s
  • Mix of pen lifts and no pen lifts
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Rubric

Component

Points Possible

Points Earned

Definition Questioned Document

10

10

Techniques to Analyze QD

20

20

Principle of Individuality

10

10

Types of Conclusions/Forgeries, Etc

20

20

Sample of Handwriting with Analysis

20

20

Images Included and Written for Teen Audience with Career Focus and Rubric Included

20

20